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Priya Tandon, M.E.P.P. '09

Pivoting into Policy

Priya Tandon can back up her public policy knowledge with engineering prowess, and she’s bringing both to bear on the issues and concerns of Northern Ontario’s minerals sector.

After earning her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, Tandon spent three years working for an engineering consulting firm, primarily on projects related to the steel-industry.

When she began looking at post-graduate programs, she discovered the Master of Engineering and Public Policy (MEPP) program at McMaster.

“I was interested in shaping policy and being in a position to make a difference in the community, and I wanted to leverage my engineering experience,” Tandon explains. “I was excited to find a program that allowed me to build on my engineering background while learning more about policy.

“And it was a bonus that it was in my hometown.”

Committing to a career shift was a leap of faith, admits Tandon, but completing the MEPP program in 2009 ended up being a great investment in her future.

“It opened up doors for me that I never knew existed, and I have progressed in my career based on the rare combination of both engineering and policy knowledge.”

Currently working as Director of Corporate Policy for the Ontario Public Service, Tandon leads a team working on strategic plans and policies for the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and has been involved in developing and launching large policy initiatives for the province.

She urges today’s students not to be afraid to take chances.

“I took a chance on the Engineering and Public Policy program without exactly knowing what role I would end up in,” she says. “But I believe that if you are passionate about something, it will naturally drive you to success, both in education and your career."